Form drawing is unique to Waldorf education and serves multiple purposes. Many assume the only benefit to form drawing is better handwriting, however there is much more to it than that. If you try one of the more challenging forms especially, you will see quickly just how powerful this tool can be! Although originally indicated just for children through 4th grade, it is now being strongly encouraged for older children or adults who haven’t had it to try this therapeutic art form.
You will quickly see how you must orientate yourself in space, on a piece of paper, and be acutely aware of what you are doing. This is not something that can be done quickly in order for it to be done correctly. You may realize even in the forms that are traditionally designed for second graders, that your fingers are not quite as nimble as you would like. Through concentration and practice, there is a huge sense of gratification when you finally master a form – it is even and symmetrical, and perfectly positioned on the paper. When begun in first grade, and worked on consistently through the years, it will address various weaknesses and challenges for the child, in a way that is enjoyable.
For younger children these forms are paired with dynamic stories related to the movement they are doing across the paper. As they progress through the grades they become intertwined with the curriculum – such–as in the knot and braids of 4th grade. All children can benefit from this art – but those with any sort of midline, visual or dexterity issues will especially benefit, with a strengthening of the eye-hand coordination, and the connection between the hand and brain.
These forms can also be done in various mediums. Beeswax crayon or colored pencil on paper, depending on the age, we have also used yarn, clay and even gluten free pretzel sticks for the fraction forms of 4th grade.
If you have an older child, start from the beginner forms and move quickly through the curriculum. They get challenging quickly and are a wonderful practice in perseverance and strengthening the will. Do it with them! This is wonderful inner work for adults as well.